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Wife Swap: The Battle of the Bible

February 13, 2008 09:52 PM by Jennifer_Brown

Childs-Courtesy-ABCFor Lee-Ann Childs, preparing for an appearance on Wife Swap is nothing compared to the tireless preparation she puts into eternity. A born-again Christian with a devout belief in a literal translation of the Bible, Lee-Ann and her husband Christopher put all of their effort in bringing up their six children according to their religious standards.

Believing that the Bible is clear about the wife’s role in the family, Lee-Ann is a stay-at-home mom who enjoys being her husband’s “help-mate.” Moreover, Lee-Ann and Christopher believe in raising their children to live traditional “biblical” roles – the girls being trained to be housewives and the boy working to become man of the house. The Childs’ teenage daughters are not allowed to date, but are to “pray for a husband,” abiding by the deep belief that God will bring a man into their lives when the time is right.

Lee-Ann is about to swap with Kim Beckman-Heskett, an educated, driven career-woman. Kim’s husband, Randall is a theologian, too, yet he couldn’t be more different from Lee-Ann. Raised in a conservative religious upbringing, Randall claims to have seen and been victim of much religious abuse, and says he doesn’t trust “Bible-thumpers.” Randall, who has three masters degrees and a doctorate in theology, treats religion in a tongue-and-cheek manner, believing conservative religiousness is something to be mocked.

Randall is a stay-at-home dad, leaving Kim to go out and earn the family’s income, and together they teach their daughters to think for themselves, to believe that they can be anything they want to be, and that dating as teenagers is expected and acceptable.

It doesn’t take long at all for sparks to fly between the switched couples. Kim gets on Christopher’s bad side right away, asking controversial questions of the kids at dinner. Young daughter Columbia (billed as “the rebellious one” because she wants to be a doctor and not a stay-at-home mom) rushes to her room and prays for God to help misguided Kim and help her, Columbia, “be meek and teachable.” Kim accuses Christopher of brainwashing his children, an accusation to which he ardently agrees. “They are, and I have purposefully done that,” he says. Later, when Kim tells the kids that he’s said this, they confront him and he backpedals, calling a “family meeting,” where he explains himself until “everyone’s heart’s good.”

At the Beckman-Heskett house, Randall and Lee-Ann are not seeing eye-to-eye over Lee-Ann’s stringent Bible interpretations. “I’ve studied the Bible more hours than you will in your whole life,” Randall erupts. Later, Lee-Ann finds him curled up on his bed in tears over having “lost the peace” in his house. “You’ve really hurt me,” he cries. Yet it has to be hard to stay mad at Lee-Ann, who also begins crying, apologizing, asking for forgiveness, and offering hugs and a hearty, “I love you!”

Each of the wives attempts some rule changes, mostly surrounding the girls and dating. Kim wants the Childs girls to go “speed dating,” and Lee-Ann wants Kim’s daughters to write chaste “dating vows.” Neither plan goes well. The Childs daughters want nothing to do with speed dating, and the Beckman-Heskett daughters write “forced” vows that they don’t believe in. In a fit of anger, Christopher busts in on some “power thought time” (time set aside for the girls to think about famous strong women) after the older children tattle thatthey think Kim is taking advantage of Columbia’s rebelliousness. Christopher whisks Columbia away from the house and forbids Kim from talking to her again.

Kim tries some outreach with Christopher, sitting him down and claiming, “I feel like a leper in this house.” But Christopher’s not interested in discussing what he thinks is Kim’s attempt at leading his children off track and he walks away from her.

The couples reunite and Randall tries to debate religion with the Childs couple. He accuses Christopher of not being as secure in his religion as he claims to be, because he reacted to Kim’s changes with fear and insecurity. Christopher disagrees, declaring himself “Head of Household, Watcher on the Wall, and Gatekeeper” of his family, period.

Since the Swap:

The Childs family is as rooted in their religious beliefs as ever before; however, Christopher now cooks for the family.

There are no real changes for Kim’s family, except they now include Columbia Childs in their prayers.

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Photo Courtesy: ABC

Topics: Wife Swap |

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10 Responses to “Wife Swap: The Battle of the Bible”

  1. Scranderberry Says:
    January 18th, 2012 at 5:25 am

    After watching this episode, I am concerned for the welfare of the children in the Childs household! It is time that child services stepped in to protect those children! Christopher is an evil, evil man and should be locked up in jail, with the key thrown away!

  2. Anton Spivack Says:
    February 22nd, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Indeed. I haven’t seen the show, but the very thought that someone who brainwashes his children because of his narrow-minded beliefs, is enough to disgust me.

  3. Mark Says:
    April 4th, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    I watched this episode tonight and have never been so outraged from a TV show in my life. The Child’s kids should be removed from the house immediately. The father is a sick man and should be in an institution. I felt so sorry for Columbia I wanted to cry.

  4. Emily Says:
    April 26th, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    I watched this episode last night, and am shocked that the above remarks. The Child’s family is quite obviously a happy and loving group of people, not at all being coerced in any way. The children simply AGREE with their parents’ beliefs. Just because YOU don’t agree, doesn’t mean the children don’t. I’m quite certain every parent wants their child to grow up and believe the same things they do… that’s not abuse. It’s called parenting.

  5. joe Says:
    September 3rd, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Christopher reminds me of a cult leader, but its not a cult when a religion gets to big.

  6. Lazarus Says:
    March 12th, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Literal interpretation? Please. I was surprised that the supposed ‘expert’ on religion and bible studies didn’t bring up all the sick, twisted and depraved passages found in the bible. I truly feel sorry for those kids, who’ve been deceived by an insecure control freak con man who teaches the girls that they should feel guilty for wanting to grow and learn about the world around them. Hey kids: why not actually pick up a bible some time and actually read it for yourselves, rather than taking your wacky, delusional parents’ select interpretations as fact? I think you might be shocked to learn about all the murder, rape, incest, animal and human sacrifice, slavery, depravity and horror your make -believe god condones. This guy wouldn’t last five minutes discussing the truth about the bible. That’s why every time someone challenges him, he gets up and runs away.

  7. Jackie Kohnen Says:
    September 8th, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Hey, Just watched the episode a few days ago. What I find ironic in the Childs family is that Columbia can’t be a doctor, but it would’ve been okay (or even expected) if the son wanted to be a doctor.

  8. Krin Says:
    March 22nd, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    I was incredibly disturbed by this episode… hopefully once this girl is old enough to leave home, she will do so and forge her own way through university or whatever other path she chooses to pursue.

  9. Kellie Heatherly Says:
    April 4th, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Columbia Child’s had a Linked In account that says she is in the health and wellness field so maybe she got outta there. UGH that guy…..could he have been more of an insane control freak scary asshole??? all his little obedient robots so eager to get ta breeding. Except poor Columbia. So she was the bad kid because she didnt want to solely make dinner and make babies. UGH THAT F.ING DAD!!!!!

  10. dj Says:
    April 4th, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    I wonder if they have twitter or facebook. I would assume the parents and the older don’t. Columbia has to be 19 or 20 now.


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